Augmented Reality

Vuforia Chalk: A Solution for the Aging Workforce Crisis in the Field Service Industry

20 March 2019 | Team EACPDS


The aging workforce crisis is affecting field service companies in a huge way. Kris Oldland, a B2B author, wrote an article for Field Service News called The Aging Workforce Crisis Is Not Only Real But It’s Here – How Are We Going To Resolve It?. Oldland’s research found that 53% of field service companies believe that replacing an aging workforce is a challenge for their organization.

Here’s how we should be addressing the aging workforce – by protecting older generations.

Protecting older generations

According to a report written by the United States Senate on ‘America’s Aging Workforce’, challenges such as age discrimination, inadequate training opportunities, and working while managing health conditions and disabilities are making it difficult for older workers to thrive in the workplace. Not everyone is ready for retirement – whether it’s due to financial reasons or they’re just not ready to stop working. It is projected that by 2026, working individuals that are 55 and older will make up 24.8 percent of working Americans – which will account for almost one in every four American workers (United States Senate, America’s Aging Workforce).

So how can field service companies help protect older generations from losing their jobs due to these challenges? We don’t need to ‘replace’ the aging workforce – we can still leverage their vast amount of knowledge and experience. Service organizations should be leading the way by providing solutions for older generations to continue working by eliminating or at least significantly decreasing travel time and cost it takes to service equipment on-site.

How do you do this? Provide your employees with an augmented reality (AR) tool such as Vuforia Chalk.

What is PTC Vuforia Chalk?

PTC’s Vuforia Chalk is built on the Vuforia AR platform technology from PTC. You can draw digital annotations on your device that accurately anchor to physical objects in the real world so that the receiver of your communication through the app knows exactly how to solve the problem via your instructions.

Vuforia Chalk allows field service technicians to help customers without having to travel to get to them. Chalk is an app that empowers service technicians by providing them with instructions and guidance they need to quickly solve technical challenges. Both experts and technicians can accurately mark up live views to highlight details or guide multi-step solutions.

Chalk marks where you instruct on the screen, leaving ‘still’ marks where you’ve placed them, even if you’re moving your device around. You can move your device out of view, and your chalk marks will still be seen drawn where you put them.

AR is one of the fastest growing segments in the market, allowing Chalk to easily launch as an app that service companies are immediately attracted to. Organizations are seeing that the investment draws in new levels of workforce productivity and efficiency for those that can work remotely and cost-effectiveness for less money spent on travel.

How can AR help with remote assistance?

Older generations are easily able to learn PTC’s Vuforia augmented reality tools as something that can be incorporated into their service processes.

Our recent webinar called, Vuforia Chalk: Powerful Remote Guidance at your Fingertips, gathered valuable survey information from our attendees: 50% of our respondents told us that their service technicians on average travel 50-100 miles radius from where they work to get to service calls, and the other 50% of respondents told us that they travel more than 100 miles to service their customers.

Think of the costs incurred with that kind of travel. The back and forth communication, the talk with human resources to plan the trip; the expenses of a rental car and/or plane tickets; the time lost to work due to travel; et cetera. The list goes on and on. When, in reality, you can use a simple AR app remote assistance app such as Vuforia Chalk to problem-solve from the comfort of your own office or home.. or anywhere for that matter.

When we asked our webinar attendees if ‘the availability of an office-based remote-expert role would increase the retention of retiring technicians and their knowledge’ – Fifty percent said ‘Yes’, and the other fifty percent said ‘Maybe’. Become a leader in the field service industry and offer your aging workforce the chance to work remotely. After all, there’s a one in four chance that the aging worker could be your grandparent.

Download the free trial of PTC Vuforia Chalk today, to see if this could be a tool that could keep older generations from feeling any repercussions of the aging workforce. Contact us if you’re interested in Vuforia Chalk.